The Ceramide Synthase Subunit Lac1 Regulates Cell Growth and Size in Fission Yeast.

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Cell division produces two viable cells of a defined size. Thus, all cells require mechanisms to measure growth and trigger cell division when sufficient growth has occurred. Previous data suggest a model in which growth rate and cell size are mechanistically linked by ceramide-dependent signals in budding yeast. However, the conservation of mechanisms that govern growth control is poorly understood. In fission yeast, ceramide synthase is encoded by two genes, Lac1 and Lag1. Here, we characterize them by using a combination of genetics, microscopy, and lipid analysis. We showed that Lac1 and Lag1 co-immunoprecipitate and co-localize at the endoplasmic reticulum. However, each protein generates different species of ceramides and complex sphingolipids. We further discovered that Lac1, but not Lag1, is specifically required for proper control of cell growth and size in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. We propose that specific ceramide and sphingolipid species produced by Lac1 are required for normal control of cell growth and size in fission yeast.
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Lac1, Lag1, cell growth, cell size, ceramide synthase, fission yeast